Maryland, Sep 25: The feast of the Nativity of Our Lady was celebrated on Saturday, September 17, 2022, by members of the Mangalorean Catholic Association of Washington, D C, Maryland, and Virginia. The annual celebration took place at the St Mary Star of the Sea Catholic Church in Indian Head, MD, with a crowd of almost 100 attendees.
The service began with the veneration of Infant Mary at the Church’s outdoor grotto. While the men and women arrived in traditional Indian attire, the children lined up outside the church carrying flower baskets with fresh flowers from their gardens to venerate baby Mother Mary. The choir was led by MCA Vice President Clint Almeida and MCA Secretary Reynel Castelino, with Malin Mendonca giving accompaniment on the hymns ‘Sokkad Sangatha Melyan’ and ‘Moriyek Hogolsiyan’. Fr. Brian Coelho, the parish priest of St Mary Star of the Sea Catholic Church and Fr Tony D’Souza, parish priest of St Francis Xavier Catholic Church in Washington D C, blessed the children and the ‘Noven’ and prayed for a bountiful harvest this year.
The group moved over to the Church in procession for the festive Mass, which was done partly in Konkani and partly in English. Everyone participated and sung several Konkani hymns during the Mass.
The Mass brochure, outlining the program and hymns, was designed, and distributed by Merlyn Mathias, MCA committee member, prior to the service. Before the conclusion of the Mass, the MCA president, V James Dante, thanked the various coordinators and volunteers involved in successfully organizing the Mass. He thanked the choir team who spent many days practicing Konkani and English hymns. Fr Brian Coelho expressed his sincere thanks to the community and wanted more of such Mangalurean events held in his parish to bring back the childhood memories of Mangalru.
After the Mass, everyone gathered for a group photo shoot just outside the church in front of Mother Mary’s statue. Then everyone moved to the parish hall for lunch and light entertainment. The dining table has already been decorated by our ladies and the food tables were decorated with banana leaves and other traditional native display items under the guidance of Anil and Priscilla D’Souza.
Fr Tony D’Souza blessed the traditional ‘Noven Jevon,’ prepared by MCA families, and attendees began feasting on a menu that included traditional home-made delicacies, such as Pathrode, Moong curry, Bende Sukhen, Sone & Tendli Sukhen, Sango Sukhen, Karam, Beetroot Sukhen, Boiled and Raw Rice, Sambar, and pickle. The meal was topped off with the delicious, traditional Mangalurean dessert, ‘vorn.’
After the meal, the entertain programmes began. This year, a team of four ladies who were trained dancers led by Esther Smitha performed Bollywood dances to the applause of all present. The president offered them certificates of appreciation. They had a line-up of competitions such as the Fashion Walk for children below 6 years as well as 6 years and above led by Clint with two judges from audience to score their walk and talk to decide the winners. They also held the Mangalorean Culture Trivia contest developed by Merlyn Mathias for adults and over 12 adults participated in the contest. The questions were a bit hard and the participants were allowed to use any help from their friends, use their phone to google etc. There was a lot of enthusiasm among the contestants to win. There was a tie of two winners who scored the perfect 10 and the winners were awarded prizes.
Later, people feasted on the special snacks at teatime Mysore Bonda, sponsored by Woodlands Restaurant, Maryland, and Idli Chutney by MCA member Philip Furtado. And it was time for participating in Zumba dancing led by Esther Smitha and her friends that was well participated and loved by everyone.
The event concluded with president Dante thanking the MCA committee members and attendees who prepared food, performed, and organized the event.
The next event of MCA DMV will be the Christmas 2022 event in December. One can stay updated on activities, events, and information on Mangalorean Catholic Association of Washington, D C, Maryland, and Virginia by visiting www.mangaloreanassociation.org
Excellent photography coverage was done by Brian D’Souza during the entire event.